Call me a killjoy, but I found the latest Batman film pretty hopeless. It was far too noisy, as if to cover up the clunky plot and vacuous philosophising.
Is Bruce Wayne the secret identity of Batman? Is Batman the secret identity of Bruce Wayne?
Do you need fear to have hope? Or do you need hope to have fear?
How many times can you be smashed to pieces and then be back in madcap action as if nothing had happened?
Everyone in the film seems to be searching non-stop for their boring inner selves. Michael Caine as Loyal Alfred drags every drop of lachrymose emoting from his corny lines. At one point when Gotham City is about to be blown up by a nuclear bomb, good ol' Commissioner Gordon takes time out to walk briskly round to the house of a limp, shifty police chief to try to persuade him to join the fight! Why bother? Focus!
Then a whole load of policemen who have been trapped underground for three months (seemingly with the baddies letting them get fed and watered) then are freed and have the brilliant idea of charging in thick ranks down a narrow street against a large group of baddies armed with machine guns, who obligingly don't shoot them but instead have a street brawl. The limp, shifty Police Chief by then has seen the error of his ways and entered the fray. He dies not especially nobly - he would have done better to stay at home.
Other aspects of the convoluted plot involving the decline and fall of Wayne Enterprises are too stupid and confused to follow. Bad Guy Bane (unlike the Joker) is an oaf with nothing to say, a predicament made worse by a mask stopping him from articulating his words clearly. He seems to be channeling a sort of lefty Occupy Wall Street anarchist nihilism but without the charm. If he wants to blow up Gotham City, why not just get on with it? Why blow up an American football pitch first? Why seal off the whole city for no obvious purpose?
The girlie aspects are baffling. There are two main female characters, a quite cool Catwoman whose motives and thieving motivations I simply could not follow. She turned out to be good at riding the Bat-bike with no training and magically turning up all over the place when needed. Then there was another oddly unattractive woman, some sort of strange top corporate idealist with lame Green save-the-planet clichés who turns out to be ... something else entirely.
And why does Batman not use some cool gadgets to defeat Bane rather than continually having thudding fisticuffs and losing?
Yes there are some chases and sprawling special effects, and strenuous efforts are made to end the series on a positive note with loose ends all tied up and an opening for future Batpersons. But the whole thing gives the impression of straining self-importantly to be morally, philosophically and psychologically meaningful. It fails.
Thus it ends up, dare one say it, a bewildering Bat-bore.